Six of the eight political parties registered for the upcoming national election signed a pledge backed by Transparency International yesterday to buckle down on corruption – but the ruling Cambodian People’s Party was notably absent from the signing.
The CPP and the Cambodian Nationality Party had been invited to attend along with the other registered parties but had declined without giving a reason, as had representatives from the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), said Preap Kol, director of TI Cambodia.
“For the two other parties we have sent invitations and they have not come, the message is very clear,” TI’s Asia Pacific regional director Srirak Plipat said. “Inaction is also a form of action.”
TI Cambodia had stated in a press release earlier this week: “We expect up to 12 representatives from each of the registered parties to join this event.”
However, TI Cambodia Communications Officer Carola Jonas said yesterday that the CPP never indicated that they would attend, adding that the CPP also had been absent from other recent TI events.
Speaking before signing the pledge, Cambodia National Rescue Party representative Son Chhay said a CNRP government would raise civil servants’ wages so they would not be reduced to making money through corrupt means.
Pan Sithy of Funcinpec echoed the goal.
Ok Veth of the League for Democracy Party underlined the importance of fighting nepotism and said that if corruption were not addressed, the prime minister could “command a very big poll and continue to be in the position forever”.
“On the 28th of July, everybody must be brave,” urged Khmer Anti-Poverty Party leader Kravanh Daran. “We must turn up to fight against corruption and… overturn the authoritarian government.”
The CPP officer who answered the phone at party headquarters yesterday said simply that the office “got the invitation letter but did not participate” before hanging up, while CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun said he was not aware of the event.
ACU spokesman Keo Remy hung up without taking questions.